RSVP / THE SOCIAL CITY : Making Sure Art Is Fun to Ensure Help Among the Young


The Southland's cultural institutions know the future will be determined by the degree of commitment from younger generations. Thus, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has announced formation of a membership group--LACMA Muse--for museum members in their 20s, 30s and 40s. They numbered 100 of the 1,000 who turned out last week for the opening of the Mike Kelley exhibition.

The Muse idea will be to make art relevant as well as fun, social, educational and cultural. Among the leaders are Libby Applebaum, Mark Beskow, Lara Edelbaum, Brooke Glassman, Jason Grode, Shanta Sullivan and Hannah Yi. They've made an ambitious schedule of exhibition parties and gallery tours with artists and curators. And they'll sponsor a New Year's Eve ball.

Debs, Stags and El Cholo: Las Madrinas, the prominent Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles support group that has raised millions through its Christmas debutante ball, has indoctrinated debutantes in the good deeds of the hospital. But, stags, the young men invited to the ball, have sometimes been less knowledgeable about why they're spiffed up in white tie.

The gap was rectified: Las Madrinas members and their husbands--Nancy and Jim Birdwell, Kay and Steve Onderdonk, Pat and Tom Rauth, Kathy and John Russell, Laney and Tom Techentin, Jenni and Michael Todd, and Brooke and Jim Young--invited the young men to tour the hospital and have Mexican food on the patio of El Cholo on Western.

More than 20 took the late afternoon tour, among them Nick Techentin, Scott Birdwell, John Onderdonk, Will Smith, Eric Pinckert, Davey Olson, Court Young, Greg Todd, Mike Russell, Brian Crumrine and Ryan Myers. (Tom Rauth arrived late from his Santa Monica lifeguard job.) Their favorite stop: the gait lab where children with walking disabilities are videotaped and their gaits restructured using computer images.

Looking Good: The deteriorating 17th-Century limestone statues on the North Vista of the Huntington Library silently watched over the picnic honoring the library's 75th anniversary committee. That's the committee planning the Blue Boy Ball, Sept. 17th. None too soon. The 28 sculptures, as well as the tempietto and the fountain at its northern end, are badly in need of restoration, and the ball will provide the funds.

The ball goal is $250,000, and things are looking good. The 75th Anniversary Celebration co-chairs, George and Mary Lou Boone, who were in France and missed the picnic, have made a leadership gift for the restoration. Ball chairmen William G. Steele Jr. and Boyd S. Smith, sipping gazpacho, were upbeat about the three ball sponsors--J.P. Morgan, Tiffany & Co. and Times Mirror Co. Said Smith: "Tiffany does only one national benefit a year, and we beat out the Boston Library for their approval."

Opera and Sunsets: Angelenos have been prominent in New Mexico for the opening of the Santa Fe Opera, chaired by Nancy Zeckendorf of New York, and for festivities including the Opera Ball and pre-opera dinners. Angeleno Cleon T. (Bud) Knapp is a new board member and major donor. He and wife Betsy were honored at a dinner hosted by Jimmy Seitz. Joining in festivities were Warner and Carol Henry and Tom and Travis Kranz.

Elsewhere on the Social Circuit

* Ventura debutante curtsies attracted more than 300 at the Ventura Doubletree Hotel. Las Patronas, an auxiliary of the Assistance League of Ventura County, presented 12--Devon Brown, Allison Brunner, Erin Carmody, Melanie ChieuQ, Erin Darby, Kathryn Donovan, Michelle Giordano, Alexis Kleiman, Sarah Kleiman, Megan Van Gundy, Stephanie Waldo and Jennifer Yuja. Heading the 37-year tradition was Las Patronas Chairwoman Peg Armstrong and ball chair Mary Massie. In March, Nancy Huntsinger feted 100 at a deb tea in her Ventura home.

* At the Joffrey Ballet opening last week, Northrop executive Kent Kressa stressed that the Music Center provides 12,000 performances yearly in city schools. Table conversations then expanded to what a pity there are not more funds provided by schools for choirs, orchestras and arts, as in years past.

* Circle these dates: "The Who's Tommy" opening July 15 at Universal Amphitheatre benefits two groups--Education First! (which considers education the nation's top public policy priority) and Children's Action Network (the entertainment industry's advocacy for children, supporting such efforts as a national immunization campaign). Carole and Jerry Isenberg, Lynda and Peter Guber, Lorraine and Sid Sheinberg, and Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg are co-chairs . . . Another date: the July 17 "Festival of Chefs" fund-raiser in which 22 Long Beach restaurants will donate house specialties in an afternoon of culinary delights to aid the Long Beach Youth Home. Carol and Ralph Webster, Fern Marsh and Target Stores are lending support.

* Starlight dining and dancing at the Black and White Bash will benefit the exhibition and education programs of Newport Harbor Art Museum on July 30 in the Neiman Marcus courtyard of Fashion Island. It's as simple as strolling entertainers, a fashion show and edibles from area restaurants arranged by Michael Kang. Co-chairs Susan Porter and Gene White have persuaded merchants to deck the fashion mall in black-and-white. A lively committee: Chris Collett, Alison Frenzel, Bill Griffin, Mark Kehke, Lorie Dewhirst Porter, Michael Porter and Jennifer Van Bergh.

* Plaudits and kudos: To Vista Del Mar Child & Family Services's "Day at the Races" on July 14 at Hollywood Park with new board president Donald S. Wolf greeting . . . To the Nancy Reagan Breast Center at Simi Valley Hospital, dedicated to honor the former First Lady this week . . . To Lucy Ann Toberman McBain, Woman of the Year at Marlborough School . . . To the Pacific Asia Museum opening its unique "Games of the Asian World" exhibition in Pasadena.

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